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Special Report: Facility Forum 2002-A Post Show Report

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Magazine, Special Reports

Published on June 30, 2002 with No Comments

By Jill Aronson-Korot
Published in the June 2002 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

In April 2002, Facility Forum was held at the San Diego Convention Center in sunny California. In its fifth year, Facility Forum 2002 drew 3,100 registered attendees and more than 180 booths. These impressive numbers reflect a significant growth in both attendee and exhibitor interest–one which will have an immediate impact on the future of The Total Facility Management Event.

Just as facility professionals’ tasks have evolved and been transformed, so has the event. Consequently, the top building and facility management trade show will now be known as The Total Facility Management Show, or more suitably, The TFM Show™ (formerly Facility Forum, a Group C Communications Inc. property). Additionally, The TFM Show™ will join with the The CSI Show™ (the annual convention of the Construction Specification Institute) in an unprecedented event called Construct America™. This program will be held at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL from April 9-11 in 2003.

By adopting a new name and forming this strategic partnership, The TFM Show™ will be the only program specifically designed to meet the demands of the new role of the facility professional. And with more than 15,000 attendees, Construct America will be the largest marketplace for products, materials, and services spanning the entire life cycle of the built environment.

However, the focus of show management remains steadfast–to deliver quality conference sessions and exhibits tailored to facility professionals. The TFM Show™ will continue to provide the most popular aspects of Facility Forum–at least 60 educational sessions, seven facility management tracks, an expanded exhibit hall, facility tours, and networking opportunities–which are highlighted in this overview of an amazing 2002 show.

As a pre-conference day, Sunday was filled with roundtable discussions, hands-on workshops, and ever popular networking events. By allowing attendees to ease their way into the event, this pre-conference program gave them an enjoyable way to optimize the time spent at the show.

The very first thing on the agenda for this year was the annual golf outing. Hailed by Golf Digest as “one of California’s most beautiful and unique courses to play,” Mt. Woodson Golf Club gave the early risers something to see. With breathtaking mountain and valley views, this landmark course offered a challenging playscape for Facility Forum players. Prizes were awarded for low team score, longest drive, closest to the pins, and more. Best of all, this was the first year where the golf outing was not a victim of Mother Nature’s whimsy; the sun was shining throughout the entire friendly competition!

After the golf outing, attendees were treated to an equally lively and topical selection of roundtable topics. Moderators and panelists for the roundtables included industry leaders and popular product manufacturers.

These sessions offered attendees the opportunity to speak out about the real issues they face. They were also given feedback, advice, and examples from peers and professionals who could offer practical solutions.

The energy roundtable was led by experts in roofing and HVAC, including Trane, Honeywell, and MovinCool/Denso. The space planning roundtable was led by leading furniture manufacturers and refurbishers, such as Haworth, Davies, Steelcase, and Arcadia. The security roundtable featured security consultants and security product purveyors, such as Hirsch Electronics, HID, and Zebra Technologies. The contingency planning roundtable included the executive vice president of marketing for BELFOR/INRECON, a power system specialist at American Power Conversion, and the chief scientist at BMS Special Technologies Division.

Along similar lines of practical implementation, the workshops offered attendees the opportunity to immerse themselves in a hands-on, project oriented session. The Emotional Intelligence workshop, presented by Alex Lam, allowed participants to see why so many major companies are using the BarOn EQ-i® technique to manage their human capital. In fact, the methodology has been used on more than 100,000 individuals worldwide.

The space planning workshop, presented by Larry Vanderburgh, helped participants understand and apply the principals of space delivery and implementation of moves, adds and changes. The technology workshop, led by Ernest Schirmer, reviewed the how and why of premise wiring, examined the cabling of tomorrow, and explained current industry standards. All three programs were designed and formatted to allow a relaxed and interactive atmosphere where active learning could transpire.

The final event on Sunday’s agenda was the Beach Bash Networking Reception. The terrace of the Convention Center served as a scenic, seaside respite for conference goers. Speakers, exhibitors, attendees, and show management gathered for food, live jazz, and cocktails, while stories of renovations, moves, economic slowdowns, and other such business matters were discussed. Colleagues who had not seen each other since last year’s show were afforded the time to catch up on the latest trends, traumas, and tactics.

Judy Munro, facility systems manager at Portland, OR-based Tri-Met says, “The Networking Beach Bash was a great opportunity to visit with a number of our peers. This is one of the best places to meet people who do the same thing you do and later tap them for questions you might encounter.”

Jeff Crane, operations manager at Charleston, SC-based Blackbaud agrees. He says, “I met several new facilities folks and visited with many I met last year. The networking is a huge advantage to these shows.” Crane adds, “I think the CSI partnership next year will be a great benefit to The TFM Show.”


Monday morning started with the Keynote Panel Discussion Breakfast. The session, entitled “The Energy Crisis,” was moderated by George Chamberlin, host of the KOGO “Money In The Morning” radio program. Panel members included Debra Reed, president of SDG&E, A Sempra Energy Company; David Batt, vice president of strategic energy management at Chevron Energy Solutions; Donald Gilligan, advisor to NAESCO and principal at Predicate, LLC; Michael Dunbar, facility manager at Biosite, Inc.; and Art Mannion, executive vice president and co-founder of Sure Power.

The lively discussion touched upon such hot topics as deregulation, the Enron scandal, and the rolling blackouts experienced by Californians last year. Attendees left the session with a surge of enthusiasm, which increased as they exited the ballroom and headed for the exhibit hall floor.

At 10:30 a.m., Ted Coene, president of The TFM Show and co-president of Group C Communications, announced the official countdown of the hall opening, which was sponsored by Primex Wireless (Official Time Keeper of the event). As the doors opened, attendees were greeted by a host of national and international companies eager to present their latest products and services.

KUSI Morning News television personality Rod Luck dropped in at the show to interview Coene and find out more about the top products and services on display in the hall. Luck quickly observed, “It’s all about security; it’s all about making sure your building is secure.”

Attendee Crane agreed. “One of the highlights for me this year was all of the security system options on the exhibit floor.” He added, “I’m pleased to see a new variety of software options that didn’t seem to exist last year. I’m planning a security upgrade later this year, and it was great to meet the vendors.”

“Everybody is interested in the new technology, which is what we’ve brought to the show,” stated Hirsch Electronics VP Rob Zivney.

A complimentary lunch was served in the exhibit hall, where exhibitors were able to meet with potential clients in a less formal setting. Best Of Show judges took advantage of this time to tour the hall, evaluate the exhibits, and prepare for the awards ceremony during the next day’s General Session Breakfast.

During the dedicated exhibit hall, attendees were encouraged to visit the booths of generous exhibitors who donated door prizes to the daily drawings. Items included gift certificates, task chairs, portable CD players, DVD players, watches, $1,000 in cash, and more. Drawings were held at the close of the exhibit hall both days. (The winners and donating exhibitors are listed at left.) Congratulations again to all of the winners!

The final event of the Monday agenda was the Gaslamp Quarter Dine Around. Attendees gathered at the Hilton Gaslamp for a cocktail, and then charted their individualized itineraries for an evening of restaurant and bar hopping at some of San Diego’s hottest night spots. Transportation from the Hilton to the restaurants was provided by San Diego’s unique bicycle pedi-cabs, and the dine-around voucher included dinner and beverages.

Tuesday morning began with a brief presentation by Susan Coene, co-president of Group C Communications and publisher of Today’s Facility Manager magazine. At that time, Coene announced the judges and winners of the annual Best Of Show competition.

Exhibitor booths were evaluated on the following criteria: design elements (making the best use of the space), first impressions (how the exhibitor interacted with attendees and conveyed the company’s message), and the appropriateness of the message communicated by the display (was the booth targeted to the facility executive?). The panel of judges was selected from the show’s esteemed advisory board and distinguished, non-exhibiting speakers.

While it’s always hard to follow the announcement of prize winners, General Session Speaker Tim Springer did a remarkable job following the impressive ribbons awarded for Best Of Category and Best Of Show. Springer, principal of Foresight Associates, kept his audience fascinated with his timely presentation entitled, “Workplace Strategies…Most Of Our Future Lies Ahead.”

In his presentation, Springer discussed the ways in which the role of facilities–and facility managers–have changed in the wake of the events of 9/11. He outlined what he called the six primary forces driving change in business today, and he explained how facilities are helping organizations adapt to and accommodate that change.

From the breakfast, attendees headed to their respective classrooms for another round of informative and relevant courses. The most popular session of that morning was the tilt-up construction presentation by Robert Foley, president of CON/STEEL Tilt-Up Systems. The course outlined the history of tilt up construction, from Thomas Edison to current industry standards. It also examined the competitive advantages of tilt-up construction compared to other building methods.

Another one of the more popular Tuesday morning programs was the course entitled, “What You See Will Not Be What You Get!” During this session, noted real estate futurist Christopher Lee discussed the profile of the new facility professional, including skill sets, compensation, and primary job responsibilities.

Crane commented, “Christopher Lee was the greatest–hands down! In about an hour, he gave us a macro-economics lesson, described the country’s population and demographic shifts, explained the intergenerational transfer of wealth currently underway, and predicted the future of real estate and our profession. He managed to cover all this material and keep us laughing the entire time! This guy was truly inspiring.”

At the close of the morning education sessions, attendees returned to the exhibit hall for a more thorough examination of the elaborate booths and unique services offered at this year’s show. The exhibit hall was highlighted by demonstrations, explanations, illustrations, and question and answer opportunities. Additional door prize drawings capped the conclusion of the 2002 exhibit hall. In the afternoon, attendees and speakers once again headed to the classrooms for yet another opportunity to gather some pertinent and practical information.


Wednesday morning started with a beautiful continental breakfast followed by the final round of educational sessions. The most popular courses of the day were “How To Boost the Bottom Line,” presented by Len Charney, director of technical services at VFA; “Managing Customer Perception With Maintenance Best Practices,” presented by Nina Strong of Carter & Burgess; and “How To Maintain High Quality Building Operations In A Difficult Economy,” presented by David Troyan, sales manager at San Diego Trane.

John Millard, engineering services administrator at Cincinnati, OH-based Federated Department Stores particularly enjoyed “On-Site Power Technologies For Greater Building Value,” presented by Joseph Bahnatka of ASCO Services, Inc. Millard explained, “This comprehensive presentation covered all aspects of the state of on-site power options, as well as the direction the industry was headed. It was very informative in terms of technical and financial detail. He added, “The presentation’s content was an ‘11,’ and the session promoted an atmosphere of learning and sharing ideas. This class really stood out; it actually surpassed my expectations!”

After the classes, attendees collected their boxed lunches and then headed to the lobby of the Convention Center to line up and sign up for the long awaited facility tours. The behind the scenes tours offered this year brought attendees to the site of San Diego’s first underground trolley station, to the inner workings of Peregrine Systems, Inc.’s high tech campus, and to the hippo filtration tanks at the San Diego Zoo.

San Diego State University (SDSU) is the site of the Light Rail Trolley Station, scheduled for completion in 2005. This station will be located directly beneath the newly renovated student center.

As tremendous a project as the underground trolley station is, it is only a fraction of the work being done across the SDSU campus. The team is also constructing a student housing and parking facility, a library addition, a research building for chemistry and geology, a 14mwh cogeneration plant under construction adjacent to the existing 4mwh plant, the Cox Arena (a 12,000 seat arena and recreation center), a parking facility that features a soccer field and track on its roof deck, an eight fraternity compound, and the brand new Aztec Athletic Center and hall of Fame.

Millard says the tour of the SDSU campus was, “A good nightcap for the week’s activities. It’s always gratifying for facility managers to get out in the field and observe a variety of projects.”

The tour of Peregrine’s beautiful facility was equally exciting. The company, which has grown from a total of 351 employees in 1999 to 800 employees in 2002, has undergone a significant transformation. It now has an integrated infrastructure management approach and has moved away from its 100% closed office environment.

The first building on the tour was the Executive Briefing Center, which houses the customer service and marketing departments. Next, the tour moved onto the coffee house which was recently added. Laptop hookups throughout the space make it easy for employees to continue working in more relaxed surrounding.

At that point, Kristen Goff from Peregrine’s security department joined the tour and explained the company’s procedures. While standard physical security and integrated photo badging is offered, employees are also given access to all Peregrine facilities around the world–as long as the employee requests access.

The group moved on to examine the security in the parking structures. Peregrine has installed point addressable duress buttons every 100 yards, which are very obvious. With a two minute response time, the structure also has points of access on all four sides.

The final building of the tour–which is nearly complete–was a facility that will be subleased through at least 2007. The building has flex space, so each area is slightly different, based on economies of scale.

In spite of threatening skies, the San Diego Zoo tour was a successful sell out! Fortunately, flexible planning made it possible for everyone–even those on the waiting list–to enjoy a behind the scenes peek at one of the most well known and successful zoos in the world.

The group was greeted by the zoo’s associate director of facilities, Bruce Thurston, who helped attendees board the double decker tour buses. The group got a look at the facilities compound–home to an extensive collection of trade professionals. Crane notes, “It is very impressive that they have all their trades in-house and that their maintenance crew has such an elite status.”

The next stop of the tour was the hippo filtration area, where smaller groups were treated to an in-depth explanation of the zoo’s hippo exhibit. Clearly the most complex maintenance aspect of the entire facility, the hippo tank requires constant upkeep in order to sustain operations. Crane adds, “it was fantastic to learn about the water treatment and other facilities challenges at the zoo!”

At the conclusion of the tours, attendees started thinking about future shows. Tony Villa, CA/SW facilities director for Nordstrom, has already asked about tours planned for next year in Chicago. Fortunately, The TFM Show has three years to explore many of the fascinating facility highlights of “The Windy City.”

Presenter Alex Lam, president of The OCB Network, said, “It was great to be part of the 2002 event, and I enjoyed myself very much. I sense this is a very successful show, and I am sure next year in Chicago will be even better.”

Slated to be the ultimate facility management destination, McCormick Place in Chicago will host The TFM Show in 2003 (April 9-11), 2004 (April 21-23), and 2005 (April 20-22). If the excitement of the host city is any indication, The TFM Show will be bound for even greater things.

Additional reporting by Susan L. Coene and Heidi Schwartz.

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About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at

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